Monday, December 2, 2013
The threat of a major housing development on the edge of West Hill has prompted residents to form a campaign group.
‘Save West Hill’, which already has the support of more than 25 villagers, was set up by Jennie Elliot after she saw workers carrying out surveys in a field behind her house in Higher Broad Oak Road.
No plans have been submitted for the land at the southern end of the road, but house builder Persimmon is set to meet with town councillors next month prompting fears of an imminent application.
Mum-of-one Jennie said: “This land is in the ‘green belt’ of West Hill and it is totally unsuitable for new houses.”
“I spoke with some of the people working in the field and found they were conducting wildlife surveys – after the land had been cleared and flail-mowed.”
“Our main concern is this application, but now we are more coordinated as a group we should be better prepared to deal with future ones.”
Ottery mayor Glyn Dobson confirmed that councillors were due to meet with the developer next month.
“We’ll speak with them and try to persuade them to hold a public exhibition – we’ve been successful at doing it in the past,” he added.
“We don’t know exactly what their plans are yet but we have an idea of what and where it’ll be.”
But West Hill residents’ Association (WHRA) chairman Dick Beardsall, who is also involved with the campaign, said the group were unhappy that the discussions would take place in private.
He added: “It is right and proper for councillors to meet with the developer - but any meeting should be held in public and the minutes published.”
Mr Beardsall said that in his role as WHRA chairman, he had met with developer Blue Cedar, and a full record of the meeting was made available.
“And I think that is what the town council should do. It could save them from a lot of unnecessary criticism.”
The campaigners have set up a ‘Save West Hill’ Facebook page where more information is available.